Most Common FAQs About Beating a DUI

Clients regularly ask me questions about DUI charges. Of course, I am always happy to answer them. Here are some of the questions I am asked most often.

Isn’t it impossible to beat a DUI charge?

That’s what the police want you to think. In fact, DUI charges in Orange County and elsewhere in Southern California are defeated every day. Some are dismissed because of motions filed by DUI defense lawyers that challenge the procedures followed to gather evidence. Some are reduced to a “wet reckless” because prosecutors know their case is shaky. Some result in acquittals at trial because the evidence does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Beating a DUI charge is difficult but impossible. Having a DUI lawyer who is skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced will maximize your opportunity to walk away from a DUI charge without a DUI conviction.

Aren’t breath and blood tests infallible?

First, before a breath test can be used against you, the test result must be admissible in evidence. In many cases, the police violate the rights of the people they arrest or they fail to follow proper procedures in obtaining test samples. Those mistakes can be exploited to prevent the test results from being used against you.

Even if the court allows test results to be used against you, juries do not necessarily regard all test results as valid. Challenges to breath test results can be based on an officer’s failure to conduct the test properly. Incorrect blood test results can be attributed to a failure to preserve the sample or to a mix-up of samples in the lab that analyzes the blood.

Jurors like to know that someone was really under the influence before they convict a driver of DUI. When a driver’s speech was not slurred, when the driver demonstrated no balance problems, and when the driver was not swerving all over the road, jurors have reason to doubt the validity of a high test result.

Does it matter that my test result was only slightly above 0.08?

It might. Although driving with an alcohol concentration at or above 0.08 is a crime regardless of the level of the driver’s intoxication, the “blood alcohol curve” defense can lead to acquittals when test results are at or near the legal limit.

When you drink, it takes some time for the alcohol in your stomach to be absorbed into your blood. Until alcohol is in your blood, it does not affect your brain or your driving ability. That’s why California’s per se law is based on a driver’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of driving.

If you gulped down a couple of drinks, started driving, and were pulled over quickly, it may be that the alcohol in your stomach did not have time to be absorbed into your blood. By the time the police get around to testing you, the test result might be higher than it would have been if you had been tested while driving. Since it is your blood alcohol content while driving that counts, the blood alcohol curve defense can save you from a conviction when it is supported by the facts of your case.

I think the officer stopped me because I was driving just after the bars closed. Can they do that?

Driving near “bar time” is not itself a sufficient reason for the police to stop a driver. Since the police know that, they will usually say they had an additional reason for stopping a driver, like the failure to signal a turn or drifting within a lane. Often the legitimacy of the officer’s explanation for a traffic stop can be challenged, leading to a dismissal of the charges.

Shouldn’t I just plead guilty?

If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest, you will face a period of probation, a hefty fine, the hassle of attending an education program, and the suspension of your driving privileges. Depending on the charge and your record, you might also be facing jail time. In addition, you might be looking at the loss of your job or of your professional license.

You cannot beat a DUI charge if you do not fight it. Getting help from an experienced DUI attorney with a track record of success gives you a chance to avoid the serious consequences that you will surely experience if you give up without a fight.